Why does maple veneer desk scratch/dent easily?

chocolateJanuary 28, 2011

I bought a new laptop desk made from mahogany w/maple veneers. I'm very surprised by the lack of durability and quality because the price I paid and the company sells high end products. It is so delicate that dropping a pencil will damage it. Is it the finish or way it was done that causes it to gouge/scrape very easily?

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The white line looks like a finish scrath.

The finish appears soft.

If the article is covered with toning lacquer (colored lacquer) any scratch in the finish removes some of the coloring also.

If toning lacquer is used I always apply clear coats to protect the color layer (and avoid toning lacquer as much as possible to start with).

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 9:39AM
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The material in the center of that unit does not look like wood. It looks like what I call pressed board. A material made from combining sawdust and binders and pressing with heat.

There might be a mahogany layer, but I have no idea the value of two layers of veneer.

Companies often charge a lot for their furniture---when the stuff is really not well constructed. Pottery Barn is a prime example. You pay for a name and a rather involved finish rprocess.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 10:21PM
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Brickeyee thanks.

After I removed the pedestal that attaches to the t-base below, some of the paint came off and had indentations. I have not used the desk yet. It also seems any kind of pressure causes scratches/indentations.

Handymac thanks! I wondered why it looked like that. I think the 2 tables are also the same although the t-base feels lighter.

The pedestal is mostly made of metal. This is where I got it:


    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 11:33PM
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From that link, it appears the only "mahogany" in this product is the color of the finish. The website pictures can be zoomed in quite close, and there's no mahogany visible anywhere. The round column is the only solid wood part; the rest is veneer over some engineered panel product like MDF or flakeboard. The base might be plywood, which would make sense from a structural standpoint.

I agree with Brickeyee that this looks like a problem with the finish, though I can't say whether it's defective or just poor quality. I'd consider returning it.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2011 at 4:50AM
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From the link:

"Constructed of rich, hand-selected hardwoods and maple veneers
A deep mahogany finish"

The wood in the stand part of the base might be a 'rich' hardwood', which is very often poplar because it is inexpensive and takes finish well.

And the 'hand selected' is probably done by the factory guy as he grabs the next piece of stock for processing.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2011 at 12:21PM
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Handymac: The wood in the stand part of the base might be a 'rich' hardwood'

If it is, then it's a rich hardwood veneer. The part is edgebanded.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2011 at 12:55PM
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Oh wait, you meant the column, didn't you? Dang...

    Bookmark   January 29, 2011 at 12:58PM
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Thanks jon and handymac. I'll be returning this. At least it's nice to know I wasn't causing these mishaps. It's been out of stock for a month and won't be available till end of February. So I'm guessing there must be a number of complaints.

I'm curious if the finish was done right, is the desk worth $149 (got it on sale)? Does it look well constructed, good materials for the price or is it a overpriced furniture? A lot of laptop desks I reviewed, it will flip over. Frontgate has another laptop desk and the Skymall reviews were mostly good which is why I bought this.

This is a the round podium part (missing a screw!):

    Bookmark   January 29, 2011 at 9:32PM
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is the desk worth $149...?

What you've got here is a reasonable price for a piece of inexpensive wood furniture. If you want real wood veneers and a wood base, I very much doubt that you'll get such for less anywhere outside a garage sale. BUT, don't let the fact that it's made of Real WoodTM and marketed as an upscale product mislead you into thinking it's a fine heirloom you're gonna pass on to your kids. This is mass-produced furniture made from inexpensive materials. In utilitarian terms, you'd probably get more bang for your buck with a chrome and melamine piece from Officemax.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 6:01AM
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For sledom used pieces you can often actually get away with lower quality.

The lack of use prevents the from accumulating damage.

For items used on daily basis it is often worth getting better than mass market, 'looks good' things.

The better quality pieces tend to not show daily wear and tear nearly as badly.

The easy chair you sit in every evening had better be higher quality than the guest chair used every other month.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2011 at 10:02AM
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Buy a blotter and use it to protect the top. Of have a glass top fitted. A ball-point pen will emboss that surface every time.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2011 at 12:33PM
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